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Baby product essentials

By Anna Studman

Find out what essential baby products you need from day one, so you can stock up before your baby is born.

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In the weeks before your baby is born, you'll probably be busy stocking up on the nursery and baby products you'll need for those first days and weeks after your little one arrives. Read our list below to make sure you've armed yourself with all the important bits and pieces.

Baby equipment you'll need from day one

Child car seat

You'll need a Group 0 or Group 0+ car seat to take your baby home from the hospital in after birth. In our child car seat tests we haven't found many carrycots or lie-flat child car seats that protect children adequately, and for this reason we don't generally recommend them.

Take a look at our independent and rigorous child car seat reviews for details of latest Best Buys, as well as Don't Buy child car seats you should avoid. 

Plus, check out our guide to choosing a child car seat for more help and advice on how to choose, buy and fit child car seats so your baby is safe.

Pram or a pushchair suitable from birth

Choose between a buggy, travel system (pushchair with child car seat) or all-terrain pushchair that's suitable from birth. Our pushchair reviews have the latest Best Buy pushchairs, buggies and travel systems, and our guide to buying the best pushchair will help you pick the right model for you and your baby.

Our pushchair chooser tool helps you weigh up the pros and cons of the different pushchair types available.

Moses basket, crib, cradle, cot or cot bed

You'll need to choose a cot, cot bed, moses basket or crib for your baby to sleep in.

  • Moses basket (£40 to £80) - compact, portable and cosy, but only usable for the first few months.
  • Crib or cradle (£50 to £150) - rocking motion may help baby to sleep, but these tend to be more expensive than a Moses basket.
  • Cot or cot bed (£80 to more than £400) - cots come in all shapes and sizes. Our guide to choosing a cot or buying a cot bed takes you through how to find one that suits your baby. 

Also check out our cot bed reviews to help you find the safest and most stable cot bed.

Mattress and bedding

You'll need a suitable mattress and bedding to go with whatever sleeping equipment you go for. Our advice on baby bedding safety and cot mattresses can help you find the essential items.

Clothing

Our survey has revealed the best shops for baby clothes.

Nappies

The average baby goes through around 4,000 nappies before they are potty trained at around 18 to 24 months old, and when they are first born they will use between six and 12 a day.

We surveyed UK parents to find out which are the best disposable nappy brands and best reusable nappy brands

Baby wipes

You'll be buying these for as long as your baby is using nappies. There are significant price differences between supermarket own-brands and big-brand names. Try the own-brands first – they may suit your baby perfectly well.

Towel

Look for a soft towel just for your baby's use.

Changing mat or changing unit

Nappy changing mats are padded and have slightly raised sides to prevent your baby wriggling off the mat, while a changing table enables you to change your baby's nappy at a comfortable waist height.

Muslin cloths and bibs

These can protect your baby's clothes from spillages and accidents. A muslin over the shoulder will also protect your clothes if you're winding your baby after feeding.

Scratch mittens

These are to stop little ones from scratching their faces.

Cotton wool

This will be helpful with a range of cleaning and care tasks.

Shawl or blanket

Can come in handy when you're out and about with your baby.

Breast pads

Choose between washable, disposable and even thermal breast pads – you'll probably need to use them even if you're not breastfeeding your newborn baby.

Essential baby equipment if you're breastfeeding

Feeding bra

Look for a comfortable and supportive bra that has a bit of give so that it can stretch to a larger size as milk comes in. It should never constrict your breasts, as this could make it easier for ducts to become blocked. Obviously the cups need to open and close easily, leaving plenty of room for your baby to feed.

Don't buy too early, as your bra size may change - look to get two or three in the last month of pregnancy. For help knowing what size bra to get, contact the NCT on 0845 8100 100 for a free personal fitting.

Breast pump

A breast pump allows you to express milk for your baby. Choose between:

  • electric breast pump - quick, durable and easy-to-use, but are dependent on a plug socket
  • manual breast pump - cheaper, quiet and compact, but can be slower and tiring to use.

Our breast pumps reviews will help you understand your choices and find a Best Buy breast pump that comes highly recommended by other mothers.

Baby bottles

It's sensible to invest in five or more bottles and teats so you've got a ready stock. You'll need these whether you're going to feed your baby breastmilk that you've expressed, or you're bottle feeding. Take a look at our baby bottles guide for more advice on what and where to buy.

Sterilising equipment

This is to ensure your baby equipment for feeding is completely clean and germ-free. There is a range of sterilisers out there, including microwave sterilisers and electric steam sterilisers. 

To help you decide, have a look at our guide to the best baby bottle steriliser brands.

Essential baby equipment if you're bottle feeding

Formula milk, baby bottles and sterilising equipment

Aptamil, Cow & Gate and SMA are among the bestselling brands of baby formula milk on the market. See above for bottles and sterilising equipment.

Useful baby equipment worth considering

  • Baby monitor – see our baby monitor reviews for current Best Buys
  • Changing bag
  • Small nail clippers
  • Dummies
  • Reclined cradle
  • Baby bath or bath supports (but a washing-up bowl in the sink or the main bath will do fine)
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